The controversy of home gun building
Since the dawn of man, human kind has been finding new and interesting ways to kill each other. The book of Genesis contains the brutal story of mankind's first murder, a gruesome tale of sibling rivalry. Brother pitted against brother, one favored more by God and the other lurking in the shadows, festering with hate and bitterness, waiting for the perfect moment to exact his revenge. Potentially the first crime of opportunity. The story of Cain and Abel reveals the deep-seated roots of depravity that saturates our human nature. The fall of man gave way for the most horrific acts of violence and evil the world has ever seen. Some people believe that, when given the opportunity, man will always take steps to get the upper hand. Others choose to believe that mankind is morally good and innately righteous.
Either way, I follow the old adage "stay strapped or get clapped."
I often wonder what it would have been like to be on the precipice of modern firearm innovation. The amount of knowledge we have gained in the last 100 years is remarkable. Imagine for a moment that you're a young marine in 1942, the year the M1 Garand was officially adopted by the United States Marine Corps. You're shipping out to the Pacific Theater to fight a cunning and skillful enemy that specializes in guerrilla tactics. The rifle in your hand is quite possibly your only ticket home. The Garand is often hailed as a remarkable innovation that helped the Allies win the war. WW2 saw an astounding boom in weapons development, and we have never looked back.
Our history with weapons is as old as time. The Spartans slayed their enemies with a unique spear called a Dory. The Dory was between 7 and 9 feet in length. Spartan boys were stripped from the comforts of home and forced to train with the weapon as early as 7 years old. Historians say that evidence of mankind's affinity for weapons can be traced back to early settlements, where hunters and warriors would fashion their own spears and arrows using obsidian and stone. Tribes were known to wage war against one another using these primitive spears. Warfare and death is engrained in the deepest part of our being. Historians estimate that over the course of recorded history, that is in the amount of time people have been writing things down and passing stories from generation to generation, there has been approximately 268 scattered years without some type of conflict between tribes and nations.
Why is this important? Why do I feel the need to write about this? One of the most important things a person can learn is where they came from. Mankind is innovative. We are cunning, we're unwavering, and we have the ability to make and utilize tools. That is, after all, what separates us from animals. I'm reminded of a story that made its way to fame on the Chive in 2012. One man with a shovel and a little over $200 forged a functioning AK-47 in his garage, utilizing the spade handle as part of the stock. These photos have been widely distributed and there is a good chance you've seen them in the past. That just blows my mind. What a cool concept. The ability and drive to create something like that out of a common household item is incredible.
This story was a catalyst for me. The world we live in today is obsessed, not with the preservation of human life, but with the narrative that drives that obsession. Think about this, millions of innocent babies are brutally murdered and tossed in the dumpster every year through abortion worldwide, yet media coverage and the left always sweep this travesty under the rug so they can force issues they want into the limelight. You've got different views on abortion? No problem, lets talk about the surge in gang related violence that plagues our inner cities. 2020 ranked as one of the most violent years in our nation's history with over 43,550 gun violence deaths. Only 610 of those deaths were the result of a "mass shooting incident." That means that mass shootings account for 1.4% of all gun related deaths last year, and yet media focus would have you believing that hundreds of people a day are viciously slaughtered in mass shootings. A single death is too high, I agree with that sentiment, but we must also take into account that while the rate of gun ownership in America drastically increases these numbers have been steadily declining.
American citizens own approximately 390 MILLION firearms as of September 2020. That number has sky rocketed in light of the pandemic and most recent election cycle, and as of the time of writing we can approximate that tens of millions more have been purchased this year. NICS transactions (federal background checks for gun purchases) have broken record after record every month so far this year. I've heard it said that with this many guns in the hands of American citizens, you would know if we had a gun problem. That saying rings so true.
Lets do some quick math. The term "mass shooting" is widely accepted to only count single events in which 4 or more people are killed. That means that, conservatively, approximately 153 firearms were used in the commission of mass shootings last year. The likelihood of this number being accurate is slim, but stay with me. If this was the case, that would mean that 0.000039% of American firearms were used in the commission of a mass shooting in 2020. What an astronomically low number. If every single firearm related death in 2020 was caused by a different firearm that would mean that 0.01% of American owned firearms were used to kill a human being last year. Still an incredibly low number. The same source that gives us our total gun deaths and mass shooting numbers also says that there were over 1,400 uses of firearms for defensive purposes in 2020. That is 1,400 people that refused to be a victim. That is a noble number that should be making headlines instead of the mass shooting rate.
So lets figure out how this all ties in to the home gun building dilemma. The Biden administration is looking to take significant action against products, hardware and software currently on the market which aids in producing these items in the comfort of your own home. Companies like Defense Distributed and Polymer 80 have recently come under attack by the left for enabling and encouraging illegal production, distribution and use of home made non-serialized firearms. What is there to say about this? First and foremost, Americans have been making guns in their homes since this nation was founded. It was common for militia members to outfit themselves in this capacity during the revolutionary war. I want to be clear on this next point because there is a lot of controversy surrounding this topic: since the birth of our nation it has been and is currently 100% legal to manufacture a homemade firearm that is non-serialized in your own home and use it for defensive purposes (this assumes you are legally able to purchase and own a firearm, you are not manufacturing an NFA item, and you are not producing the item to transfer or sell unless you are licensed for such activities in which case a serial number would be required).
Our shovel AK is a prime example as to why we cannot legislate and will away home gun building. Take a moment to youtube homemade pipe guns and let me know what you find. Any moron with some metal pipe and a few simple tools can put together a somewhat functioning sub gun in their garage. It's in our nature to make things work. The issues that we are faced with proposal of legislative action against homemade firearms is cause for concern. Where does it end? Anyone that has used a hand drill to mill out an 80% AR lower can tell you that it was a useless block of aluminum before they put their grubby hands on it. This legislation, in conjunction with proposed universal background checks, would force a national gun registry out of necessity. In order to be effective we would have to regulate billet aluminum, bar stock, detents, and freaking springs. The impact that added regulations would have on this industry, and more concerning, our livelihoods, would be catastrophic. The argument for our Second Amendment rights is valid and primary, but too many people don't see a value in that argument. Biden literally said in his last press briefing that "no amendment is absolute." How are we supposed to process this statement? Our Fourth Amendment protects our freedom to be secure in our possessions and effects. In order to enforce any regulation on homemade firearms we would inadvertently be surrendering our Fourth Amendment rights as well. Rumors have circulated around the industry of alphabet boys obtaining buyer information for items such as 80% lowers and taking action to seize this private property. If you ask me there are serious implications here and a precedent is being made for further enforcement action.
There is an argument to be made that the collapse of the Second Amendment would have a domino affect on the rest. It is critical that we emphasize the origin of our freedoms. Our freedoms are not granted to us by the government that we ALLOW to govern us. They are God given and as such cannot be repossessed. When we stop viewing our freedoms as God given we make way for regulations and legislation that would authorize the government to repossess our rights. I would make the argument that firearm legislation has already gone too far, but that is a conversation for another time.
Finally, as a former law enforcement officer, I can speak from experience on the topic. When you watch a press briefing or a hearing in which politicians are discussing "ghost guns" they will likely make the argument that these weapons are recovered at crime scenes and are untraceable because they don't have a serial number. You are being sold a false bill of goods by these elected officials. More often than not, these "ghost guns" that are being referenced are not homemade firearms. They are burner guns that criminals obtain illegally or under false pretenses, which they subsequently alter illegally by scratching or sanding away the serial number. Who would've thought that criminals do not obey gun laws? I really don't want to dwell on this because we're beating a dead horse at this point, but we cannot legislate away bad guys and bad deeds. The brass tax is that criminals will find a way to illegally obtain firearms, whether that is through a straw purchase (buying a gun from a dealer for your buddy who can't pass a background check), burglary, theft, or back ally deals.
Politicians want you to believe that "ghost guns" are homemade using 80% templates and materials readily available. Unfortunately this narrative is not what it seems. I cannot recall a single homemade firearm that I recovered during my career in law enforcement. I'm not saying that this doesn't happen, but I know criminals better than most. Any officer you speak with will be able to tell you the same. The type of criminal that is looking for a cheap disposable gun to use in the commission of a crime does not have the aptitude, attention span or dedication to make their own. "But you said it doesn't take a lot of knowledge to build your own gun." Yeah I did, but it still does take some level of aptitude, attention to detail and dedication. Stop using my words against me. There are obviously exceptions, but my experiences have led me to believe this. Why do you think Hi-Points are one of the most common pistols found in evidence lockers across the nation? Nothing against Hi-Point, but they're cheap, functional, and can get the job done for the budged conscious criminal. Like most people, life experiences have shaped my world view, and I think it is very difficult to understand the depravity of man unless you have trudged through it. LEO's, military, social workers and other first responders know what I'm trying to articulate here.
At the end of the day, its important to remember that things are not always what they seem. You cannot believe what you're being fed from the media. There is no epidemic of homemade untraceable "ghost guns" being dumped at murder scenes by savvy and cunning criminals that are one step ahead of the law. Most of our problems are centered in democrat controlled urban areas where gun laws are strict and the gangs run rampant. We've been making our own weapons since the dawn of man for whatever reason we see fit, whether thats to hunt, protect our family, defend our lives, and protect our liberty. Mankind has been in the weapons game for thousands of years and the train won't stop any time soon. Gun legislation is not the answer. If you really want to take action against gun crime get involved in the industry. Get your concealed carry permit, buy a suitable pistol and invest in training. Carry that thing with you everywhere you can and know that you're competent and able to protect yourself. Be a responsible gun owner and encourage other responsible people in your life to do the same. We know from experience that a good guy with a gun is often the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun. If you're not comfortable with that then thats okay, but being uncomfortable with the idea of owning a firearm is no excuse to try and strip those rights from others.
Refuse to be a victim.